October 2014

Changing Perspectives: The Promise and Challenge of Renewable Energy


By Jamey Stillings, from his TEDxABQ presentation on Sept. 6, 2014


Have you used electricity today? Do you know where it comes from? In New Mexico, most of our power comes from coal and natural gas. Despite our abundance of wind and sun, only 7 percent comes from these renewable sources. Nationally, the ratio is different, but two-thirds of our electricity still comes from fossil fuels. It’s not a sustainable formula!


Over the past 800,000 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere stayed below 280 parts per million, until we, in this age of fossil-fuel consumption, pushed it higher. Since the start of More >

The Genius Grid

Electric utilities around the world are in the midst of unprecedented changes


Bill Althouse


There is now a decentralized system on the ground that enables utilities to integrate and manage conventional generators, including locally owned, ultra-efficient fossil-fuel generators, along with high amounts of renewable energy (RE), resulting in cleaner, cheaper and more reliable electricity. The ability to leverage Distributed Energy Resources (DER), storage and efficiency along the entire electric-power system value chain will define the future of the industry.


The municipal utility in Fort Collins, Colorado, made a home for a utility research and development center, FortZed, which has attracted many innovative companies More >

Energy Newsbites – October 2014


Public Comment Period Extended for Power-Plant Rule

The comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to reduce power plants’ carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 has been extended until Dec. 1. The EPA has held four public hearings around the country on the proposal, which also tasks each state with crafting an individualized plan to move to cleaner energy sources. A final rule will be issued by June 2015.

Advocates say the rule is necessary to help combat climate change because power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. Critics More >

Deciding New Mexico’s Energy and Climate Future


Opportunity Knocks. What Will Our Answer Be for Replacement Power?


Bianca Sopoci-Belknap


New Mexico is at a crossroads when it comes to energy. In order to comply with federal emissions regulations, a deal was reached last year between Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the state of New Mexico to close Units 2 and 3 of the San Juan Generating Station. The retirement of these units represents 850 megawatts (MW) of coal capacity and roughly half of the plant. This is good news. The San Juan Generating Station is considered one of the dirtiest More >

Marchers Demand Climate Leadership

Over a thousand call on the NMPRC, PNM and the governor to take action


On Sept. 20, hundreds of marchers surrounded a billboard-sized banner hanging from the PERA Building in Santa Fe that proclaimed, “New Mexicans Prefer Clean Energy. When Will PNM Change?” The PERA Building houses the N.M. Public Regulation Commission (PRC), which, after upcoming public hearings, is facing a decision regarding the state’s coal-fired power plants. Spurred by new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that will reduce emissions and haze, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is retiring two units of the San Juan Generating Station. The More >

Sustainable Santa Fe: Monthly Update


City Makes Climate Action a Priority through Creation of the Climate Action Task Force


On Aug. 25, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales announced the members of his newly formed Climate Action Task Force (CATF) at Growing Santa Fe Green, a community forum about climate change hosted by Santa Fe Forward, a local nonprofit organization (www.SantaFeForward.com). The event gave Santa Fe residents an opportunity to discuss concerns and give the mayor feedback on environmental issues important to them.


The CATF is comprised of environmental and clean-energy experts, as well as representatives from the business community (see sidebar). They will provide counsel to the More >

Climate Change Newsbites – October 2014


Megadroughts” Possible in the Southwest

According to a new report from Cornell University, the U.S. Southwest is at a greater risk for long-term drought than previously thought.

Although state-of-the-art climate models have projected a 50 percent chance of a decade-long drought in the region, new analyses that include hydroclimate fluctuations, tree-ring and river-flow data, increased evaporation and global warming suggest that the southern areas of Arizona and New Mexico have a 90 percent chance of experiencing decade-long droughts in this century. The data indicate a 20- to 50 percent risk of a 35-year drought in the Southwest and a 5- to More >

A Tribute in Paint to the Earth and Local Agriculture

Murals Adorn Old Hunter Ford Buildings in Española


Alejandro López

There is something magical about paint when it is applied to the surfaces of structures that comprise and define our immediate environment. It is all the more magical when we use it to create vivid representations or symbols of what is most cherished in life, whether it be our idea of the divine, of family or homeland, or activities that provide us with meaning and sustenance. To do this in a community that is broken and blighted and that each day struggles to draw its every breath is all the more magical. More >

A New Take on Gaia Gardens


Alejandro López


After visiting a small farm on the south side of Santa Fe recently, I felt as if I had been to the ocean. I say this because there, amid oscillating stands of healthy spinach, chard and kale, my senses were saturated with the effervescent sights, sounds and scents of a place teeming with life. Standing beside a kaleidoscopic garden of medicinal plants on a gentle rise in the land while listening to the clatter of ducks and watching many birds fly overhead, I was aware that my being was being suffused by a benevolent and undeniably tangible cosmic force More >

The Wilderness Act’s 50th Anniversary

The Wilderness Act is a system of land preservation that today includes almost 110 million acres around the United States and 1.6 million acres in New Mexico.


National Wilderness Conference, Oct. 15–19, Albuquerque


Held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the National Wilderness Conference is the first national gathering of wilderness advocates, stewards, educators and researchers in 25 years. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 and ending at noon on Oct. 19, this event at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque includes plenary speakers and panelists such as author Terry Tempest Williams, Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell (invited), More >

The Aldo Leopold Writing Contest


This contest honors the life and legacy of Aldo Leopold, one of the most important advocates for the protection of wilderness in the 20th century. This is a particularly significant year to honor his legacy because 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act by Congress.


More than 150 entries were received from public, private and homeschools; 6th-12th grade students from all over New Mexico. The students were asked, “Describe what “wilderness” means to you and your community.” The entries were judged by a small panel of judges who work in the field of environmental education More >

Newsbites – October 2014


The Zia-Bernalillo Farmers’ Markets

In October, you will find local farmers’ markets beaming with an abundance of last harvests and carefully prepared canned goods. At the pueblo of Zia Farmers’ Markets in Bernalillo and San Ysidro, New Mexico, vendors sell locally grown, non-GMO fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs, as well as prepared foods and craft items, homemade soaps and many other items. This is the second year the market has been in operation under the pueblo’s Sustainable Agriculture & Farmers Markets Growers Cooperative Program. The market—at 335 S. Camino del Pueblo, next to Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Bernalillo—is open More >

What’s Going On? – Albuquerque – October 2014


Oct. 4, 9 am-4 pm

Green Project Management

CNM Workforce Training Center, 5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE

Learn how to incorporate environmental concepts into project management. $119. 505.224.5200, tmchavez@cnm.edu, www.cnm.edu


Oct. 4, 1-3 pm

Home Composting Basics

Juan Tabo Library, 3407 Juan Tabo NE

Judy Espinoza will teach the science, materials and methods of drought-proofing your garden soil. Presented by Bernalillo County Extension Master Composters. Free. Registration: 505.782.4495, register@nmcomposters.org


Oct. 4-5

ABQ Indian Arts Festival

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Second annual. 505.843.7270


Oct. 5

Bosque Boogie

Along the Bosque

A 10K, 5K and 1K fun run for kids to benefit Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum of ABQ. Parking in the Montano Plaza Shopping Center. More >

What’s Going On? – Santa Fe – October 2014


Oct. 2, 7 pm

Los Masis: The Andean Experience

The Lensic

Extraordinary music & dance from Bolivia. Tickets: $25/$15. 505.988.1234, www.TicketsSantaFe.org.

Also appearing Oct. 3-4 at the Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference at NNMC in Española (see listing below).


Oct. 3, 5-8 pm

Garb Ware

Radicle, 1703 Lena St.

Fashion show and sewing how-to with scrap materials. 505.474.8000, Christie@beradicle.com, upcycledfashion.com


Oct. 4, 10 am-12 pm

Citizens Climate Lobby Meeting

La Montañita Co-op Community Room, 913 W. Alameda



Oct. 4

St. Frances of Assisi Feast Day

Nambé Pueblo, NM

Ceremonial dances


Oct. 4, 3-8 pm

3rd Petchesky Conservation Award

Petchesky Conservation Center, 5430 S. Richards Ave.

NM Land Conservancy’s celebration of land conservation. Tickets: 505.986.3801, ladkins@nmlandconservancy.org


Oct. 4-5

Bicentennial Celebration

The Village More >

What’s Going On? – Española – October 2014


Oct. 3-4

Traditional Agriculture & Sustainable Living Conference

Salazar Performing Arts Building, Northern NM College

Keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, performances, vendors’ market. Sponsored by Tesuque Pueblo, Northern NM College, Traditional Native American Farmers Association, Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute. 518.332.3156, fourbridges@live.com, http://4bridges.org/educational-programs/annual-conference/2014-conference/


Oct. 15 through Nov. 19, 5-8 pm

Business Development Series

Española Valley Fiber Arts Center, 325 Paseo de Oñate, Española

Six-week workshop series presented by WESST-Santa Fe in collaboration with EVFAC. Starting or growing an arts business? Learn: The Basics, Research, Pricing, Financing, Goals, Business Plan. 505.747.3577, info@evfac.org


Through Oct. 31, 12-4 pm Tues. – Sat.

The Farm Show 2014

Bond House Museum, 706 Bond St.

Artists More >

What’s Going On? – Taos – October 2014


Through Oct. 5

40th Taos Fall Arts Festival

Several Locations, Taos, NM

Awards, art installations, receptions, architecture/history walking tour, performances, environmental film festival and more. Presented by the Taos Arts Council with partial funding from NM Arts/NEA. 575.758.4648, taosfallarts.com


Oct. 16

Credit Clinic

Basic financial advice. People can meet one-on-one with a trained employee to discuss their credit score, their credit, and to assess ways to improve their financial situation. Presented by the Guadalupe Credit Union. A free service to the Taos community. 505.216.0450


Nov. 10-16


TCEDC Campus and Bataan Hall, UNM-Taos, NM

Supports food, land and cultures of northern NM. Taos County Economic Development Corporation celebration and thanksgiving More >

What’s Going On? – Here & There – October 2014


Oct. 3-7

Shiprock Navajo Nation Fair

Shiprock Fairgrounds, Shiprock, NM

Dances, song & dance competition, arts & crafts, rodeo, parade. Northernnavajofair.org


Oct. 4-5, 10 am-5 pm

El Rito Studio Tour

El Rito (between Ojo Caliente and Abiquiú, NM)

Enjoy the art and culture of a traditional northern NM village. World renowned and emerging artists, live music, food. For a map and info, visit elritostudiotour.org


Oct. 4-5

American Solar Energy Society Solar Tour

19th annual tour of homes and businesses in NM. www.ases.org/solar-tour


Oct. 11-13

Abiquiú Studio Tour

Abiquiú, NM

More than 80 local artists open their studios. 505.685.4454, abiquiustudiotour.org


Oct. 17-19

Volunteer Work Weekend

Red Canyon Reserve, west of Socorro, NM

Stewardship chores on Quivira Coalition’s property used More >